The French strikes that could threaten the Paris Olympics 2024

Several groups are threatening to strike over what they see as a lack of bonus pay over the busy period

A number of workers’ unions are calling for higher pay and bonuses during the Olympic and Paralympic events
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As France gears up for the Paris Olympics and Paralympics 2024, some workers’ unions are threatening to strike, with many calling for better pay and conditions over what promises to be a very busy time.

Who has threatened to strike? 

  • Public fonctionnaires (civil servants)

  • Railway workers. They are being called to action on May 21, by most of the Sud-Rail and CGT local unions, joined in some areas by Unsa-Ferroviaire.

  • Binmen and waste collectors in Paris. They are being called to strike on May 14, 15, 16, 22, 23 and 24; and then July 1 to September 8. This would cover both the Olympics and Paralympics.

What are the unions calling for?

Most are calling for extra pay or bonuses over the Olympic and Paralympics Games periods, to reflect the extra hours and work they are expecting as a result of the event and the influx of visitors over the months.

Read also: Strikes in France: Binmen begin protest over Paris Olympics pay

Have any agreements been reached?

Some. At the end of April, RATP drivers successfully negotiated an agreement providing for bonuses of up to €1,600 for employees who are absent from work for fewer than four days during the Games.

Similarly, the Paris mairie has said it has been negotiating with Paris binmen, and has determined “five levels of bonus, ranging from €600 to €1,900 [which] will reward effective and exceptional investment in the Olympic Games”, it said.

This bonus “will be awarded to employees whose workload is increased by the preparation, organisation and/or participation in the Olympic Games”. This will apply to “almost 20,000 employees” out of 52,000 city-wide, it said.

Binmen union heads - from the union CGT FTDNEEA - have yet to say if they will accept these terms, as they fall short of their demands.

In contrast, Sud Rail has said that the bonus already suggested by SNCF management is too low (€50 per day of attendance this summer during the Games). 

Instead, the union is calling for the bonus to be doubled in net terms, including rest. “We've decided to shake things up by setting a date in the landscape,” said Fabien Villedieu of Sud-Rail to AFP. 

“What is on the table doesn't suit us,” he said. “We'd be happy with a fixed bonus [over the entire period] of at least €1,000.”

The CFDT-Cheminots unions has said that it “has not been given any orders to go ahead”, but “has negotiations to conduct”. Yet, general secretary Thomas Cavel said that “strike action will come when negotiations fail”.

SNCF has not yet commented on the content of the current negotiations, although it has said that CEO Jean-Pierre Farandou is aiming to reach an agreement on the subject at the end of May or beginning of June.